Monday, 25 February 2008

Looking beyong Iraq and Afghanistan

Its really easy to sink into a situation where military thought concentrates on current operations and how to tackle them.

opswarfare has previously expressed a desire to concentrate less on what the US armed forces are doing, and it has succeeded to a certain extent, covering operations by non-US troops, e.g. UK and Canadian forces.

The next logical step is to look at things closer to home, and make this site more relevant to Singapore.

For a start, opswarfare will look for open source material on the various armed forces of ASEAN, to understand our neighbours better.

First up, Brunei.

The Ministry of Defence website contains some White Papers [2007 edition (PDF)] which should be useful to provide an insight into the defence posture of Brunei.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Ideas To Improve Training For Military Operations In Urban Terrain (MOUT)

Another one of those "lessons learned" articles that opswarfare loves. This time, its from the Canadian Army Journal.

For opswarfare, perhaps the next project is to consider drafting a training manual, from section level upwards, for urban operations, starting from defensive ops.

Internet Archive

Often, internet links become dead over time. opswarfare is always fighting to update the links referred to in its posts, especially the old ones. In some circumstances, opswarfare has resorted to reproducing the text in the post, to ensure that important info is kept for posterity.

Another method to try is the Internet Archive. To try it out, opswarfare used the most obvious example, at least in military circles recently. eDefense was a great resource (as is Ares is now) for military technology and also analysis of combat operations.

Although the speed is a bit slow, the archive is quite well-kept. opswarfare envisages that another few months will be "wasted" in going through the archives. cool.

p.s. eDefense's tagline is quite cool.

Detect. Decide. Shoot. Survive.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Dutch Military Union Calls For More Funding, Training

Ares Homepage
It's always sad to hear of friendly fire incidents. What's comforting to hear is that technology is not bandied as the only solution. Because it is not. Proper tactics, techniques, and procedures are still the key to fratricide prevention.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

High-Tech Weapons Are Standard Issue for Insurgents

Aviation Week
Quite a few new revelations regarding the capability of Hezbollah and Iran. The paragragh below is especially insightful.
Like most modern militaries, Israeli forces use "frequency-hopping" -- rapidly switching among dozens of frequencies per second -- to prevent radio messages from being jammed or intercepted. They also use encryption devices to make it difficult for the enemy to decipher transmissions even if they are intercepted. Hezbollah had sophisticated devices that intercepted radio signals even while they were frequency-hopping. "We were able to monitor Israeli communications and we used this information to adjust our planning," says a Hezbollah commander involved in the battles, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Most modern armies rely on frequency-hopping radios to communicate, with the understanding that they provide some level of protection from the enemy. If the above is true, then the practice of proper voice-procedure (i.e. speaking using codewords) is even more important than ever.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Harris Radio on UAV Provides Aerial Comms Relay to U.S. Army

Ares Homepage
Using UAVs to relay radio communications. That's a simple and great idea, as the communications range for VHF radio are easily reduced in situations such as urban areas, or mountainous regions.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Master of Arts (War in the Modern World)

King's College London
A master's degree in an area that opswarfare loves, and available online. What a match, but the course fees are £14,400. Time to start saving money.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Stryker MGS: Problems in the Field

Defense Industry Daily
The above link is a good example of how to blog about a blog post, and expand the discussion.

As for the topic itself, one quick input from opswarfare is that the MGS can be used as a "show of force" asset, to dissuade the enemy from attacking.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Embedded with IDF

Great insight into a typical IDF operation. This video (part 1 of 3) shows the 931 Regiment of the Nachal Division infiltrating into Lebanon.

Friday, 8 February 2008

9M123 missile on a BMP-3 platform

A new Russian anti-tank missile, with dual mode (radar or laser) and supersonic speed. It's also slated for the proposed Mi-28M attack helicopter.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Winograd: Final ground op 'did not achieve military goals', but approving it was essential step

Haaretz - Israel News
The full Winograd report has been released. A summary in English in the link.

By Haaretz Service and Reuters

The Winograd Committee released its final report on the Second Lebanon War on Wednesday, saying the decision in principle to launch a major ground offensive in the waning hours of the 2006 war was essential, despite the fact that the offensive failed to achieve any military objectives.

The committee called the war, which Israel launched against Hezbollah on July 12, 2006 after the militant group abducted two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and killed three others, a "major missed opportunity."

"Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated, which ended without a clear Israeli victory from a military standpoint," Justice (ret.) Eliyahu Winograd told a press conference in Jerusalem.

"A paramilitary organization withstood the strongest army in the Middle East for weeks," he said.

"Hezbollah rocket fire on the Israeli home front continued throughout the war, and the IDF failed to provide an effective response," he continued. "Daily life was disrupted, residents left their homes and entered bomb shelters."

"These results have far-reaching consequences for us and our enemies," he continued.

Winograd assailed the final, large-scale ground operation launched in the final 60 hours of the war in which dozens of IDF soldiers were killed, saying it "did not achieve any military objectives nor did it fulfill its potential."

"The ground operation did not reduce the Katyusha fire nor did it achieve significant accomplishments, and its role in accelerating or improving the political settlement is unclear," said Winograd. "Also unclear is how it affected the Lebanese government and Hezbollah regarding the cease-fire."

"The manner in which the ground operation was conducted raises the most difficult of questions," he continued.

However, the panel found that the decisions that motivated the political echelons to approve the offensive were acceptable.

"The decision in principle of the security cabinet on August 9to approve the IDF's recommendation for a ground offensive, subject to the diplomatic time-table, was a practically essential decision," said Winograd. "It provided Israel with necessary diplomatic flexibility."

"The decision to actually launch the ground operation was within the framework of decision-makers' political and professional judgment based on the information they had available," the retired justice continued. "The objectives of the military push were legitimate and were not confined solely to accelerating or improving a political settlement."

"There was no failure in the decision itself, despite the limited accomplishments and painful price," he said, referring to the 33 IDF soldiers killed in the offensive.

"We are persuaded that both the prime minister and the defense minister operated out of a strong and honest assessment and understanding of what, to them, was seen as necessary for Israel's interests," he continued.

'Grave faults' in decision-making process

The panel nonetheless "found grave faults and failings in the decision-making process and the preparatory work both in the political and military levels and the interaction between them," Winograd said.

"We found grave faults and failings in the senior military command echelon, particularly in the ground forces, the quality of preparedness and readiness of the forces, and of the execution of orders," he said.

"We found grave faults and failings both in the political and military echelons in the lack of thinking and strategic planning," he continued. "And we found grave faults and failings in everything concerning the defense of the civilian population and the challenges presented by the blows it suffered."

"Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively," he said.

'Israel went to war without discussing alternatives, objectives'

"The failures began long before the Second Lebanon War," said Winograd. "Ambitious goals were chosen for the war, after which Israel was left with only two main alternatives - the first was a short, severe strike [on Hezbollah], the second was to fundamentally alter the reality in southern Lebanon through a wide-scale ground operation."

"The manner in which the original decision to go to war was made, without discussing the alternatives, and the manner in which Israel embarked on the war prior to determining which of the alternatives it had chosen, or an exit strategy - these were severe failures that impacted the entire war, which were contributed to by both the political and the military echelon," said Winograd.

"The indecisiveness continued into the war itself," the retired justice continued. "There was no proper discussion or decision on the war's objectives for several weeks."

"There was also a serious delay in preparing for a wide-scale ground operation, reducing Israel's options," he said.

"The result was that Israel did not make do with maximizing immediate military achievements, but rather was dragged into a ground offensive only after a cease-fire [decision] made it impossible to effectively fulfill its potential. Both top military and political leaders are responsible for this."

The committee handed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the IDF copies of the 500-page report, shortly before the press conference in which the panel presented the report's primary conclusions.

The first, partial Winograd report was released in April 2007 and focused on the opening days of the war. The report found that Olmert and the government had displayed poor decision-making skills and lack of judgment.

It said that, "The decision to respond [to the cross-border attack] with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan..." and that "The primary responsibility for these serious failings rests with the Prime Minister, the [then] minister of defense [Amir Peretz] and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff."

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Ross Kemp in Afghanistan

Another documentary on UK's involvement in Afghanistan, this series documents the 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, in operations in Helmand.

Some quick talking points after watching 2 episodes (there will be 5 episodes).
  1. landmine hitting BVS-10 - concerns about mine-clearing procedures
  2. being vulnerable to enemy fire whilst crossing open territory - non-usage of smoke as cover
  3. practice of moving openly from Camp Bastion - possibility of losing element of surprise
  4. quickness of close air support - good procedures in place for calling in airstrikes

Reinforcing Chad

Ares Homepage
France is sending more troops to Chad to bolster its presence there, due to increasing attacks from rebel forces. It would be interesting to find out how the French and Chadian forces are cooperating.

A quick Google search reveals some more info on the French contingent from Gabon. The 6e Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine (6e BIMa) in Libreville, Gabon, is part of the Troupes de marine, which is part of the French Army.

It seems there is also a proposed EU peacekeeping force (EUFOR TCHAD/RCA) due to deploy in early February 2008. Chad, which lies on to the west of Sudan, is being affected by the many refugees streaming from the Darfur region of Sudan.

As can be seen in this Reuters factbox, the conflict is complicated to say the least. This type of scenario is now common for many operations, and armed forces have to be trained and ready for such situations.